In the Book of Esther, we see trouble arising for the Jews. There is a plot afoot to exterminate the Jewish people from the kingdom. Within the royal harem is a beautiful young Jew named Esther. Her great beauty and tact has her finding favor with the King and rising to the position of Queen. Mordecai, the man responsible for raising Esther, tells her that she must turn the King’s hand from his plan to annihilate the Jews. Esther fears for her own life, and I love how Mordecai answers her fear:
For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? – Esther 4:14
The part I love isn’t the reminder that Esther’s family is in obvious danger–I mean, that part is heavy and adds some excitement, but for me it isn’t the crux. No, the cool part about this, for me, comes in the words, “If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place.”
When God asks us to do anything–any old thing–He and the angels aren’t sitting fingers-crossed in Heaven hoping that we will say yes. When God went to Moses in the burning bush in Exodus 3, Heaven wasn’t tuning in with bated breath. “I hope that burning bush thing works,” says a worried angel. “Yeah, it seemed like a pretty good closer in the staff meeting. I hope Moses signs on,” replies another.
God is not some cosmic, cheap-suit wearing salesman. He is not hoping to close us and collect commission. His livelihood does not depend on us, nor do His plans. He is God. He will have His way.
So what Mordecai is saying here to Esther has so much truth in it: “Esther, God is going to deliver the Jews . . . do you want to be part of it or not?”
I love the CS Lewis quote that says it makes all the difference to US whether we serve like Judas or like John. We can plug into the winning team or the losing one. We can join God in what He is doing or we can oppose Him. But either way, He is going to get it done.
Imagine if Moses had said “no” that day when God asked Him to go deliver the Israelite people from slavery. Can you think of how it would feel to open up the Egypt Times and read about their escape–the greatest deliverance in history–knowing you could have been a part of it? Think of Esther looking on as God saved the Jews from annihilation, knowing that her whole life had led to the precise moment for her to have a role in it, yet she decided instead to remain silent, to be safe.
Today, God is standing before me. He is saying, “Go therefore and make disciples.” He is calling me to love my neighbor and my enemy. He is calling me to forgive. In all these things, I can plug into His purposes for my life and for the world around me. Or, I can say no and look on from the cheap-seats at the game I could be playing in.
The path I choose doesn’t matter to God’s ultimate plans, but it certainly matters to the course my life will take and the impact it will have.
He’s burning before all of us with calls of justice or love or peace . . . He is asking us all to go and to do. And, in love, He is giving us all a choice to walk in the plans He has or to sit and watch Him change the world from afar.
So is it Judas or John? Will you serve like Esther or quietly exit into obscurity and regret? That is the key to a life that matters; that is the beautiful choice . . .